Toyota to return JobKeeper payments

2020 was better than expected for Toyota who will hand back $18 million in support payments to the ATO.

In an act of good corporate citizenship, Toyota Australia has confirmed it will return more than $18 million in JobKeeper payments to the Australian Taxation Office following its strong sales performance in the final quarter of the year.

A statement from Toyota said the company had qualified for JobKeeper support payments in mid-2020  when its revenue fell more than 50% – the threshold for access to the Federal Government's stimulus program designed to keep people in jobs.

Toyota's sales later recovered with the company posting a record fourth-quarter total of 66,179 vehicles, a gain of 29.1% over the same period in 2019.

As a result, Toyota was Australia’s best-selling car brand for the 18th consecutive year with total deliveries of 204,801 vehicles – just 975 vehicles short of its 2019 performance. 

Not all car makers performed so strongly, with the overall new car market in Australia down 13.7% on calendar year 2019, for a total of 916,968 vehicle sales. 

Toyota President and CEO Matthew Callachor said the company approached the Australian Taxation Office in December to arrange the JobKeeper repayment, amounting to more than $18 million.

"Like most businesses, Toyota faced an extremely uncertain future when the COVID-19 health crisis developed into an economic crisis that even led to dealerships closing for extended periods in Victoria and Tasmania," Mr Callachor said.

"We claimed JobKeeper payments to help support the job security of almost 1,400 Toyota employees around Australia – the people who are our first priority.

"At the same time, we executed a comprehensive action plan which succeeded in overcoming the challenges we faced and reigniting our business.

"In the end, we were very fortunate to weather the storm better than most, so our management and board decided that returning JobKeeper payments was the right thing to do as a responsible corporate citizen.

"We are extremely grateful that so many Australians continue to put their trust in Toyota to deliver quality vehicles and services, especially in tough times."